Revisiting machine design for new efficiency gains

How OEMs can generate efficiency gains

 

Revisiting machine design for new efficiency gains

 

Operating in today’s fast-changing and highly competitive industrial environments requires radical efficiency improvements.  Machines delivered to end-users must use fewer resources, provide better operational insights, and maximise the return on investment.

 

Adopting a smart machine approach and revisiting the machine design can increase efficiency, with benefits for both OEMs and their customers.

 

Efficiency refined

As a pioneer in smart automation technologies, Schneider Electric always looks at efficiency from a number of different angles to enable OEMs and end users to be more efficient: do more, quicker, and with less waste, increasing the profitability of their businesses through:

 

– Machine efficiency covers machine design and assembly, as well as operation and maintenance

– Operator efficiency means simplified access to more contextual information and guidance for better operational decisions

-Resource efficiency is the optimized use of assets, energy, and employee time when building or operating machines

 

How to improve efficiency in machine design

The first step is to use software and application templates to reduce machine engineering time. Machine automation and control systems based on ready-to-use templates have a modular structure. They help prevent errors, reduces costs, and enables flexible adaptation to evolving customers’ needs. The templates can also be reused for similar projects in the future.

 

The design phase is the best time to ensure machine compliance with safety standards by incorporating safety control solutions into machine design as well as testing, and performing risk analysis and assessment.

 

Efficient machine design should also include motion control solutions to enable high machine performance right from the start. Faster, more precise motion control increases machine productivity through greater speed, accuracy, and ease of adjustments and helps reduce downtime.

 

Finally, open communication standards, such as Ethernet (Modbus TCP) or serial (Modbus/RTU), should be implemented. This enables smooth machine communication, interaction, and integration throughout its life cycle.

 

Machine operation made easier

An intuitive interface is key to more efficient human-machine cooperation as it enables operators to better and more quickly understand the current machine status and make decisions more effectively.

 

The HMI’s screen design can be standardised with customised colours and animations, to better suit different tasks such as setup, monitoring, and diagnostics. Remote access to information on machine status and its performance significantly will also enhance machine efficiency.

 

Efficient machine maintenance

With advanced diagnostics embedded in smart machines, operation and maintenance are easier and more efficient.  By monitoring both their components’ status and environmental conditions, smart machines can optimise their performance for more reliable and flexible manufacturing.

 

In addition, detailed data on machine condition facilitates implementation of preventive maintenance. Regular interventions, scheduled to minimally impact production, help avoid unexpected component failures and downtime. Remote access capabilities make it possible to examine equipment and perform an intervention from any location, saving the costs of team dispatch.

 

Doing more with less

Resource efficiency is also driving change in industry. End-users are looking for solutions that decrease production costs, are compliant with environmental regulations, and support sustainable businesses. By offering more efficient machines, which use less energy and other resources, OEMs can gain a competitive advantage on the market.

 

Download the full document from Schneider Electric here

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